Survival Day Dawn Ceremony and Activities

On 26 January, Viewpoint of Lake Wendouree will be the venue for Ballarat’s fifth Survival Day Dawn Ceremony.

Hand print on kangaroo skin

On 26 January 2024, the shores of Lake Wendouree will once again be the venue for Ballarat’s Survival Day Dawn Ceremony. 

The 2024 Ballarat Survival Day Dawn Ceremony will be the 5th reflection and healing event hosted by the City of Ballarat's Koorie Engagement Action Group (KEAG) Advisory Committee in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.   
While a day of mourning, 26 January is also a day to mark the survival of ongoing traditions and cultures.  
The Survival Day Dawn Ceremony is an inclusive event, welcoming all to join in solidarity for reflection and healing.    

First Nations' community, one and all will gather to remember, to acknowledge resilience, to strengthen murrup (spirit) by practicing culture through song, story sharing and unity.  

The 2024 Survival Day Dawn Ceremony will commence at 5.30am on 26 January at Viewpoint, Lake Wendouree. Just some of the community contributing to this event alongside the Koorie Engagement Action Group include MC Belinda Duarte AM, Ballarat community dancers, The Harris Family, and Uncle Andrew Jackomos PSM.

From 9am in 2024 View Point will be a place to pull up a chair with a cuppa from a nearby café and participate in free Survival Day events including live performances, cultural crafting activities, a Welcome Weaving Circle, Gardens for Wildlife information stall, yidaki workshops, and songs with deborahN and Community Choir.

Download the 2024 Survival Day Program

Yidaki/Didgeridoo Workshops

Where: View Point outside under trees
Class times: 10am  and  12pm
Cost: No cost - Materials Provided
*Please note that this is a boys and men only workshop. See Tristan Harris on the day if you have any questions.

The North Eastern part of Arnhem Land is the birthplace of the renowned Didgeridoo or ‘Yidaki’ as the First Nations peoples have been calling it for thousands of years. When European colonists first heard the music of this ancient instrument, it sounded like it was making the word ‘Didgeridoo.’

As a result, the slang term ‘Didgeridoo’ was coined, and has been used by the wider Australian community ever since. The Yidaki song carries the history of the First Nations peoples, who inhabited Arnhem Land. Today, the majority of people from wider Australia only hear the yidaki playing in major cities, and automatically link the Didgeridoo to Aboriginal Australians (SAFC, 2016).

“It’s our sacred instrument. With its sound the great god Baiame created the stars in the Dreamtime. The men who know how to play it in our culture are very important. With the yidaki they communicate our wishes to the spirits. And they call on them to come to our aid when tragedy befalls us. This sacred instrument brings us closer to the world of our ancestors. It awakens the Rainbow Serpent without making it angry, and allows us to speak with the God of Creation.”- Yakar Garimala

While the Didgeridoo is not a traditional instrument on Wadawurrung County, local Traditional Owners recognise it's importance to many first nations people.

Books for Bubs and Carers

Where: View Point stage 
Time: 9am 

Indigenous books and First Nations languages.

Playwrite Talks

Where: View Point stage 
Time: 12pm

Bring your copy of The Visitors along for a book signing after an author talks with Jane Harrison; playwright, author and artistic director of Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival.

Hear an excerpt of The Visitors read by Ballarat mob.

Find out more about The Visitors

Free Weaving all day

Where: View Point shady tree area 
Time: 9am - 1pm
Cost: No cost

Workshops on the hour. An open space to learn the basics but also please come and share your weaving skills with others. Learn how to weave a traditional games ball.

Watch Previous Survival Day Dawn Ceremonies

Survival Day Dawn Ceremony 2023

Survival Day Dawn Ceremony 2022